Working in Samut Prakan

Monthly Earnings 110,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

I make 100,000 a month working at an international school and another 10,000 baht tutoring at home on the weekends.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

20,000-30,000 a month depending on if there are any surprise expenses. Having a wife and two kids, there are always surprise expenses. My school also offers a Provident Retirement Fund where they invest 5,000 baht of my salary every month and the school matches it with another 5,000.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I pay 17,000 baht a month for a 100 sq meter condo.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


400 baht a month on gas for my motorbike and another 1,000 for taxis on the weekends.

Utility bills

3,500 a month for electric and water. 2,000 a month for cellphone, wifi and Netflix.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

30,000 a month. I've lived in Thailand for 10 years, and the days of my wife and I living off 500 baht a day are long gone now that we have two kids. We cook a lot, eat at Thai markets and order Western food a few times a week. I have tried to save money here but with a family, it always seems to average 1,000 baht a day - especially after you make some weekend trips to the mall.

Nightlife and drinking

Almost zero unless friends are visiting from out of town.

Books, computers

Zero, except for an 800 baht a month wi-fi bill.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

My standard of living is very good in Thailand and a dream compared to what I would have back home.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Housing costs, health insurance, transportation, Thai food and weekend trips to the beach are all bargains in Thailand!

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

I would say 50,000 baht if you're single, but that doesn't quite cut it if you have a family. I worked at mid-level private schools for 8 years, making 50+ a month with my bachelors degree and TEFL and it was a struggle after I had kids.

My advice - if you're in Thailand for the long term, spend the money and take the time to get a degree in education or a professional teaching certification and get a Thai teachers license.
After I did that, my salary doubled and my employers don't have to look for loopholes to renew my visa and work permit - plus I no longer get discouraging looks from the immigration officers!

Phil's analysis and comment

I always have maximum respect for foreign teachers who are also family men (or women) at the same time. With the cost of more mouths to feed (and numerous other things), overall monthly expenses must skyrocket. Well done on getting qualified, putting yourself in the higher earnings bracket, and taking good care of the family!   

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